The British star, 23, is from the North Yorkshire town of Bridlington. He moved to London at 16 to become a musician and then went into acting.
His role in sci-fi series Stranger Things was his first major part. He plays a loner called Jonathan whose younger brother goes missing in mysterious circumstances from the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana. The boys’ mother is played by Winona Ryder.
Heaton told GQ Style: “I wasn’t a total outsider at school like Jonathan, but I wasn’t necessarily the popular kid either.
“I felt I understood why Jonathan was the way he was — a bit of an older soul… I had a very humble upbringing like him and was also brought up by my mother. I also liked the idea of how he’s trying to discover himself and work out who he is and where he belongs.”
Netflix recently announced that the Emmy award-winning series will return for a second season. Heaton said: “I didn’t know what to expect about where the show was going. But it trumped whatever I was thinking.
“A lot of things are going to be addressed. The [original] script felt very different from the start. And then when I got to see the scenes we were making on the monitor, I could tell it was something special. I remember thinking, ‘Wow, this could be a classic.’”
Stranger Things 2 is expected to be released in October.
Read the full interview in the spring/summer issue of GQ Style, out now.